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Extended Maceration - how extended?

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jgmann67

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I’ve done 3 or 4 red wines under an extended maceration. I’m wondering, though, whether I should tighten up on the number of weeks I do my EM.

I do 8-9 weeks on the skins. I’m thinking 5-6 weeks might better. The wines are still very young (the oldest EM is a year old this week) so I don’t know.

For all you EM’ers out there, how long do you let your wine sit on the skins?
 

pillswoj

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I have typically done 8-9 weeks as well, the Cru International Meritage I just transferred after 5 weeks, I have always found the international series faster maturing and am not sure how much the EM does for them with the dried skins.
 

cmason1957

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I did a reverse Extended Maceration (not really sure what to call it). But I mixed everything up, got it all ready to ferment and then put it into my fridge @36 F for 4-6 weeks, then let it warm and fermented as normal. More of an extended cold soak, I suppose you would call it. I believe it had the same effect and the Amarone from it is tasting great already, and it is still bulk aging. I don't have a big mouth carboy to let them sit after fermentation, so I went that way with it. Might be something for someone else to try, if you have the extra fridge to do that with.
 

Johnd

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I did a reverse Extended Maceration (not really sure what to call it). But I mixed everything up, got it all ready to ferment and then put it into my fridge @36 F for 4-6 weeks, then let it warm and fermented as normal. More of an extended cold soak, I suppose you would call it. I believe it had the same effect and the Amarone from it is tasting great already, and it is still bulk aging. I don't have a big mouth carboy to let them sit after fermentation, so I went that way with it. Might be something for someone else to try, if you have the extra fridge to do that with.
Yup, I'd call that a cold soak as well. When doing frozen must, always got quite a few days of it as the must warmed up to room temps.
 

jgmann67

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Why do you think that 5-6 weeks might be better if you haven't done it before?
The question in my head is how long is long enough to extract as much tannin, color, flavor and body from a kit manufacturer’s skins without “overstaying my welcome,” and getting off flavors from them.

I know TIm V. suggests 8-9 weeks. But, how much benefit do you get from the extra 2-3 weeks?
 

dmguptill

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The question in my head is how long is long enough to extract as much tannin, color, flavor and body from a kit manufacturer’s skins without “overstaying my welcome,” and getting off flavors from them.

I know TIm V. suggests 8-9 weeks. But, how much benefit do you get from the extra 2-3 weeks?
I've wondered this about EM for kits for a while now... As I recall from Tim V's video and blog about his extended maceration (which no longer seems to exist), EM works on grapes not just because of the extra extraction, but because of the special chemical/biochemical reactions that take place in the presence of the skins for all that time.

The question is whether that same process is also at work during EM in skin kits. Considering the kits have relatively fewer skins, the benefit of EM could simply be as you suggest: extra time to extract all the goodies. But if there's more to it than *just* extraction, it would seem the extra couple of weeks might be important.

Only one way to find out...do two kits side by side, one each way, and compare!! Can't wait for you to share the results with us two years from now :D
 

jgmann67

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Only one way to find out...do two kits side by side, one each way, and compare!! Can't wait for you to share the results with us two years from now [emoji1]
In a perfect world, yes. Unfortunately, I’m on a one-kit-at-a-time budget.

I did an RJS French Merlot and six months later did a Master Vintner Cherie Merlot (by every measure, the same kit with a little brand engineering) doing the 8 week EM.

Other than the EM, the kits were made the same way. No sorbate, no clarifiers, tannin riche extra in the finish.

The RJS is a bit lighter and fruitier than the MV. But, I only recently bottled the MV. So, it’ll be a few months until I can do a proper side-by-side with them.
 

Paul ballman

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I've wondered this about EM for kits for a while now... As I recall from Tim V's video and blog about his extended maceration (which no longer seems to exist), EM works on grapes not just because of the extra extraction, but because of the special chemical/biochemical reactions that take place in the presence of the skins for all that time.

The question is whether that same process is also at work during EM in skin kits. Considering the kits have relatively fewer skins, the benefit of EM could simply be as you suggest: extra time to extract all the goodies. But if there's more to it than *just* extraction, it would seem the extra couple of weeks might be important.

Only one way to find out...do two kits side by side, one each way, and compare!! Can't wait for you to share the results with us two years from now :D
So instead of pulling the skins out when you do your first rack, you leave them in a few weeks after racking?
 

LenMajdan

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Jeff Cox in his book From Vines to Wines says 22-24 days is best with the outer limit 28. When the fermentation finishes he sets up a little dribble of CO2 into the vat to stop oxidation. When the skins and other detritus falls to the bottom that means it is ready to press. He does all this at ambient temperatures. I've being doing this for the last 4-5 years to great effect. At the other end freezing the grapes after harvest then a slow defrost before fermentation breaks the skin cell wall and releases more colour, tannin and other goodies to greater effect. Just to increase that flavour intensity I also drain off some of the juice 24 hours after crushing to use as a rose. A percentage of whole bunches is another flavour enhancer.
 

SethF

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First cold maceration this fall.

I refrigerated approx. 35+ gallons of must for my 2018 Cab Merlot blend in 6-6 gallon pails following crush and hitting with metabi and Llallozyme. Allowed to stay for 7 days. I was punching them down each day for the 1st few days, but opted not to continue after that. Must got nicely dark.

Then allowed to warm to ambient temp and innoculated 48 hours later. Followed my normal protocol from there. I don't have the ability to do an extended maceration. Press, Rack, MLF, Oaked with staves, stirring once a week on Lees.

So far so good.
 

jgmann67

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First cold maceration this fall.

I refrigerated approx. 35+ gallons of must for my 2018 Cab Merlot blend in 6-6 gallon pails following crush and hitting with metabi and Llallozyme.
I'm assuming you have access to a walk in refrigerator. Otherwise, how did you do it?
 

SethF

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I found a freezerless refrigerator new that was a great deal for ~800.00 a few years ago. You might be able to get them for less if not stainless etc. I have a temp control on it as well. This unit has allowed me to do temp controlled fermentations of roses, cold stabilizations, bulk aging/maturing, etc.

For the cold maceration, I am able to remove the shelves and stack 3 and 3 pails. Had to put some magazines or wood in the base to bring the bottom ones up (slightly less depth at the very bottom).

I had to retire another frig (side-by-side) last year because of a dead water/ice dispenser, so I have that on a temp controller as well now. That will fit 2 pails in the freezer and 3 pails in the fridge if I wanted to.

I just built a cellar, so bulk aging is really not an issue any longer, but it's certainly nice to have these for the above reasons. Cellar is at 55 degrees, and you really should be able to bring the temp down to 35-37 if you want to cold macerate or cold stabilize.

Seth
 

BigSell

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Quick question on the EM process. Do you add an airlock at around SG 1.020 - 1.010? Then how often to you punch down the skins?

Thanks
 

jgmann67

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Quick question on the EM process. Do you add an airlock at around SG 1.020 - 1.010? Then how often to you punch down the skins?

Thanks
Ask 5 people and you’re likely to get 7 answers.

Personally, I seal mine up around week two. That’s about the time that the grapes are not as floaty and sloshing the wine is sufficient (no need to punch down anymore).
 

crushday

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In a perfect world, yes. Unfortunately, I’m on a one-kit-at-a-time budget.

I did an RJS French Merlot and six months later did a Master Vintner Cherie Merlot (by every measure, the same kit with a little brand engineering) doing the 8 week EM.

Other than the EM, the kits were made the same way. No sorbate, no clarifiers, tannin riche extra in the finish.

The RJS is a bit lighter and fruitier than the MV. But, I only recently bottled the MV. So, it’ll be a few months until I can do a proper side-by-side with them.
Jim, can you report on the differences yet on the RJS kit vs the MV kit? I'm very interested...
 

jgmann67

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Jim, can you report on the differences yet on the RJS kit vs the MV kit? I'm very interested...
Coming out of the box, there was no difference - juice, skins, oak and yeast... to my recollection, they were the same. Perfect for this comparison.

I did the MV kit as an 8 week EM. Initially, the tannins were a little unmanageable. But now, and even though it’s a younger wine, it is deeper, fuller bodied and more mature than the RJS that I did following directions.
 

kuziwk

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While I didn't do what most would consider an extensive extended maceration, I thought I might share with you guys that it's a start. I drilled out the bucket lids for an airlock which I technically had done before. After 7 days or so I would press the skins typically and finish fermenting for a few more days. This time at around SG 1.010 i cut my plastic spoons down so that they would fit in the bucket with the lid closed. I used the spoon against the lid to hold down the skin packs and snapped the lid shut. After this I left it for another 7 days, for a total of 14 days in the primary, I'm sure I could have gone another week (3 weeks total) I didn't want to risk it. I'm essentially doubling the contact the wine has with the skins by a week. Pretty happy with the results so far, I'm convinced I got alot of good stuff from the skins. One other trick I do is knead and press, than ring the skins bag out for 5 minutes or so...really working it at the end to extract everything from the skin pack.
 
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